How To Share Your Printer With Anyone On The Internet

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printer shareWindows 7’s Homegroup feature makes sharing printers on your local network easy, but what if you want to share a printer over the Internet? This has traditionally been very complicated, involving print drivers, firewall rules and IP addresses. Google Cloud Print, built into Google Chrome, simplifies online printer sharing.

We’ve written about using PrinterShare to share printers in the past, but Google Cloud Print is a much easier alternative. After you share your printer with someone, they can print to it from their web browser – you can even print to your own printer from a browser if you’re away from your computer.

Setting Up Cloud Print

You’ll need the Google Chrome web browser installed to set up Cloud Print. After it’s installed, launch it and open its Options page.

printer share

Click over to the Under the Hood tab and scroll down; you’ll find the Google Cloud Print option hidden near the bottom.

share your printer over the internet

Click the “Sign in to Google Cloud Print” button and you’ll be asked to register your computer’s printers with your Google account.

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share your printer over the internet

Sharing the Printer

Click the Manage Your Printers link after registering your printers to access the Cloud Print website. You can also access this page by clicking the Manage Print Settings button next to Google Cloud Print on the Under the Hood page.

share your printer over the internet

The main window here shows a list of print jobs, but you won’t have anything here yet. Click Printers in the sidebar and you’ll see a list of printers on your current computer.

share your printer

Select a printer and click the Share button to manage its sharing settings.

share your printer

Type an email address into the box and click Share. This box will automatically autocomplete addresses you type from your Gmail contacts, so you can also start typing a contact’s name to find their email address.

share your printer

Google Chrome must be open on your computer so it can forward incoming print jobs to your printer. Don’t worry, though — if Google Chrome is closed or your computer is turned off, print jobs will be saved in Cloud Print’s queue online. They’ll start printing automatically the next time you launch Google Chrome.

Accepting The Shared Printer

The person you share the printer with can sign into their Google account and access the Google Cloud Print website. They’ll see an indication that they have a new printer.

First, they’ll have to accept the shared printer.

The printer will appear in their list — a face icon superimposed over the printer’s icon indicates that it’s a shared printer.

Printing A Document

The person you share the printer with can click the Print button and select “Upload File to Print” to upload a file from their computer and print it on your printer.

You should be able to upload any PDF or DOC file — hopefully, Google will add support for additional file types in the future.

printer share

The “Other Ways to Print” option takes you to a page that lists ways you can access the shared printer from other devices. Google Cloud print is integrated into the Gmail and Google Docs mobile webpages for smartphones and Cloud Print apps are available for iOS, Android and Mac.

Cloud Print isn’t only for sharing your printer with other people; it can also provide access to your printer from other devices. You can use the apps to print from your smartphone or tablet or use the website to print when you’re away from your printer.

Future Features

Google Cloud Print is currently in beta and is evolving quickly. Currently, it supports both Windows and Mac. Linux users can’t share their printers yet, but they can still print using the Cloud Print webpage. Some printers even include Cloud Print support out of the box, so you can connect them to your network and use them without setting up Google Chrome. Expect more printers with integrated Cloud Print support in the future.

Have you tried Google Cloud Print sharing yet? Let us know how well it works for you in the comments.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Comments (27)
  • Peter Pottinger

    lol digg slashdot and reddit? those websites are nothing more than a tool for students/unemployed to waste time debating with each other.

    stackoverflow is the only “real” geek tool that i would agree with

    • Dave Parrack

      If you look hard and dig deep amongst the pointless arguments and trolling then Digg, Slashdot, and Reddit have some good content.

  • Blah

    http://www.dailyrotation.com – why bother with each individual site?

  • Thomas Kainz

    Why not just buy a router which has a usb print server built in?  They’re readily available and not expensive?

    • Chris Hoffman

      Why go out and buy a router when you can do this for free?

      It depends. If you just want to print a few documents once in a while, this is a lot faster, easier and cheaper. If you need something more robust, dedicated hardware may be the way to go.

  • IMSH

    Before finding MakeUseOf, I was frequenting Geekosystem and TheMarySue; however, the content, although VERY geeky, sometimes flirted in the NSFW zone. To be sure, I will check out a couple of the other sites listed in this post. Thanks for sharing, Dave!

    • Dave Parrack

      No problem, IMSH. Geekosystem is definitely on the list for a follow-up post. Thanks for commenting!

  • Shawn

    LifeHacker

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.